In this Warhammer 40k: Space Marine 2 article, we’ll be going through everything we know about the third-person shooter so far.
Space Marine 2: Everything We Know About The Upcoming Third-Person 40k Shooter
Space Marine 2 is the highly anticipated sequel to the 2011 third-person shooter of the same name, Warhammer 40k: Space Marine. This time around, the sequel is being developed by Saber Interactive and published by Focus Entertainment. The game is set in the grimdark sci-fi universe of Warhammer 40k, where humanity is beset by countless enemies, both alien and heretical.
Story and Setting
The game follows the exploits of Lieutenant Titus, an Ultramarine and a veteran of countless battles, as he leads his squad of Space Marines against the Tyranid invasion of the planet Sedna.
For those who aren’t familiar with the lore, a Space Marine is a superhuman warrior and agent of the Imperium of Mankind. They are considered the Emperor’s greatest defenders. They are further divided into Chapters, each with their own cultures, histories, and practices.
Space Marines are genetically enhanced and undergo rigorous conditioning to become the ultimate warriors of destruction that can be pitted against any enemy in any environment. They wield massive weapons that normal humans could never even dream of using, such as fully automatic Bolters, deadly chainswords, and plasma guns.
The Space Marines tower over humans, with their average height being about 8 feet tall but are made even more gargantuan with their massive power armor. The presence of a Space Marine is quite rare, as evidenced by their absence in Warhammer 40k: Darktide, or the fact that there is only one of them (so far) in Warhammer 40k: Rogue Trader. Usually, Space Marines are called in as a last line of defense for the Imperium of Mankind. Grey Knights, which were the main forces in Warhammer 40k: Daemonhunter, are even rarer and are reserved for apocalyptic levels of emergencies. Most citizens of the Imperium can go through their entire lives without even hearing about the Space Marines.
Warhammer 40k: Space Marine 2 picks up what looks to be a few years after the first game. Titus was seen being taken away by the Inquisition, the Imperium’s branch that sniffs out heresy before it takes root, due to his exposure to the Warp at the end of Space Marine 1. It looks like he made his way out somehow, and finds himself on the planet Sedna, an Imperial world that has been besieged by the Tyranids, a race of destructive creatures that lay waste to entire galaxies in their quest to absorb any biomass that they come across.
It will be up to the Space Marines to stop this insurmountable foe from gaining even more foothold in the sector. Leaving the Tyranids unchecked will spell doom for the entire galaxy, and not just Sedna.
Gameplay and Features
Warhammer 40k: Space Marine 2 is a third-person shooter that combines brutal melee combat with ranged weapons and abilities. The game will feature a solo campaign, as well as a 3-player co-op campaign, where players can team up with up to two of their friends or other online players to face off against the Tyranid hordes.
The game will retain the core gameplay mechanics of the first game, such as the regenerating health system, the fury meter, the brutally satisfying executions, and the weapon swapping. Space Marine 2 also looks to continue the trend of not introducing a cover system at all. Puny walls aren’t needed when the Space Marines themselves are the cover.
Speaking of which, Space Marine 2 puts a heavy emphasis on the grandeur of the Space Marines themselves. As they are literally walking tanks of fury, players will immediately feel the sheer scale and weight of the Space Marines. The ground shakes whenever Titus charges at a hapless foe, even more so when he gets into melee range and starts striking his enemies.
Space Marine 2 is all about fulfilling the fantasy of becoming a titular Space Marine and becoming an avatar of wrath, brutality, and destruction.
Melee is as satisfying as ever, letting players engage in a cacophony of violence with every weapon swing. We see the return of fan favorites, such as the chainsword, eviscerating hapless Tyranids with ease. Those with tougher armor will require a bit more effort to take down but is made easier with more defensive options.
New to Space Marine 2 is a simple yet effective parry and blocking system. Certain foes can be parried in melee, staggering them for a brief moment and opening them up to instant kill execution moves or a quick shot to the face. Another very entertaining new move is that Titus can catch enemies mid-air, and then thrash them into the ground for massive damage. He can even cut them in half with his chainsword if he has it out.
Titus can also gain access to a Jump Pack, presumably at set points in the game just like in the first one. This will let you become an Assault Marine that can fly into the air, only to cannonball down into a group of foes, sending everything flying and to their doom. Smashing yourself into bunched-up enemies never got old in the first game, so it’s interesting to see how frequently we’ll be able to make use of the Jump Packs here.
Battlefields eventually become littered with corpses, body parts, and other debris, giving you a satisfying sense of pride and accomplishment after every combat encounter.
Titus and the Space Marines will have a lot of options when it comes to ranged combat. Aside from mowing down enemies with your regular Bolter gun, players can also pick up Auto Bolt Rifles, Bolt Carbines, Meltaguns, Heavy Bolters, and Plasma Incinerators.
The interesting options here are the Meltagun, Heavy Bolter, and the Plasma Incinerator. Meltaguns shoot out a small burst of superheated energy that can tear through lesser foes while stunning some of the more elite ones. Heavy Bolters are massive weapons that can tear through enemies with their superior rate of fire coupled with explosive rounds. These are more limited, however, and cannot be reloaded so you can only use them sparingly. Last is the Plasma Incinerator, which launches a bolt of pure energy that is capable of melting armor.
This isn’t to say that other weapons aren’t effective. Even the simple Bolter gun is capable of violently tearing apart any foe, be it large or small.
Space Marine 2’s cooperative mode will include up to three players in a group. There are only three characters, Lieutenant Titus, Brother Chairon, and Brother Gadriel. Chairon and Gadriel will be AI-controlled in case you prefer not to engage in the multiplayer mode.
All three of the Space Marines will fundamentally play the same in the sense that you are all hardened walking tanks. You will have the same basic moves in melee and have the same options when it comes to weapon choices.
However, each of the characters has a unique ultimate ability they can unleash when they reach maximum Fury. Titus looks like he will be retaining his defiant roar which makes him more dangerous while in melee range. Chairon can scan the area and mark enemies for everyone to see. Perhaps it will be like the Veteran in Darktide, wherein he immediately draws attention to high-priority targets, instead of just highlighting everything that moves. Lastly, Gadriel has some explosive munitions available only to him, so it looks like he might be fun if you’re into pyrotechnics.
There’s also a revive system in place in case one of you falls in battle, allowing the standing Marines to try and bring the other back into the fight.
It hasn’t been announced just yet whether the multiplayer will have any form of cross-platform or cross-progression support.
Space Marine 2: Enemies of the Imperium
The Tyranid Swarm
Space Marine 2’s visuals are a huge step up from the 2011 original, both in terms of the technical side as well as the artistic direction. Due to the developers’ choice of limiting the sequel to current-gen consoles and PCs only, they can create some very intimidating displays.
The Tyranid Swarm is constantly on full display in Space Marine 2, be it up close or at a distance. There are some moments when you can see that this is truly a war because of the scale of everything. Some scenes even contain hundreds of Tyranids flying around the battlefield, creating chaos in their wake. The aliens are so many that they become a literal sea of horrors, ever-flowing closer to you and your allies. The technology being used here is impressive, as each of these are individual entities in the game world that you can shoot at.
As the Tyranids are on a full-scale assault here, we can see a wide variety of strains here. Everything from the cannon fodder Termagants to the iconic Tyranid Warriors who wield bone swords, to even psychic Zoanthropes are represented in the game. As expected, each type of Tyranid will have its own unique behavior.
Termagants and Hormagaunts will try to swarm and overwhelm the player, as they are weak individually. The bigger Tyaranid Warriors will face Titus head-on, either in direct melee or with venom cannons that can penetrate even a Space Marine’s hardened power armor.
There are also airborne horrors that you will need to attend to. Spore Mines are floating sacs of explosive poison that launch themselves at their enemies.
The Forces of Chaos
Also introduced in one of the latter trailers for Space Marine 2 was the return of the forces of Chaos. Specifically, we see that the Thousand Suns traitor Legion being represented here, who are devout followers of the Chaos God of Change and Sorcery, Tzeentch. This is further confirmed in the trailer footage by the presence of a Silver Tower, a demonic engine that is often used by the Thousand Suns as a mobile fortress that can transport troops over great distances, or even act as an energy battery to help supply magic users with unholy powers.
Chaos Space Marines will prove to be a different challenge entirely to the Tyranids and will require a different approach to take them out effectively. For one, they will not swarm you with numbers and try to kill you in a battle of attrition. Instead, Chaos Space Marines are also formidable in their own right, being Space Marines themselves. They have been trained and equipped similarly to Titus and his Battle-Brothers, but have the bonus of being touched by Chaos.
Essentially this means they have demonic powers under their belt, which often take the form of dangerous Warp powers from their Sorcerors or mutations that greatly enhance their speed and strength. Oftentimes, the forces of Chaos would summon lesser demons to do their bidding and act as cannon fodder to spread disarray in their enemies’ ranks.
What sets the Thousand Suns apart from other Chaos Space Marines is their affinity to magic and their “thrall” soldiers. The Thousand Suns have suffered from a curse known as the “Rubric of Ahriman” that was supposed to cleanse them of their imperfections. Instead, the bodies of the non-psychic turned to ash. The ranks of the Thousand Suns became, and still is, a mass of animated armor devoid of any free will.
Only two specific types of Chaos foes were shown off, the Scarab Occult Terminators and the Exalted Sorcerers. The first are powerful Terminator armors that have been animated by the essence of former soldiers. Exalted Sorcerers are just that – extremely powerful magic users.
Release Date and Platforms
Warhammer 40k: Space Marine 2 is expected to launch this “Winter”, although no specific date has been announced yet. This could mean any time from now up until the early months of 2024. The game will be available for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC via Steam. The game is a current-gen exclusive, which means it will not be released for PS4 or Xbox One. This decision is highly likely due to the way they are presenting the grandeur of the Warhammer 40,000 universe. As alluded to earlier, making use of current-gen hardware lets the developers run wild with their imaginations, specifically with the huge number of enemies that can appear on screen at once.
The game also called for a beta test, where eager players could get early access to a preview build of the game, and provide feedback to the developers. It looks like the beta test is available for all platforms, and will feature a smaller portion of the solo campaign.
Space Marine 2: Final Thoughts
As it stands from all of the trailer footage, Saber Interactive and Focus Home Entertainment are set on capturing lightning in a bottle. They have extremely large shoes to fill, as the first game was a cult classic that could be considered one of the best Warhammer 40,000 games of all time. However, it looks like they have all the ingredients they need to make this second entry a success. They have an amazing look and feel nailed down, alongside a new apocalyptic-level threat looming over the horizon. The essence of the first’s gameplay looks to also have been preserved quite well but enhanced tenfold. Also, the addition of a co-op mode is sure to bring in even more fans.
It looks like fans of the Warhammer 40,000 franchise will eat well this Winter Season as they will have Space Marine 2 and Rogue Trader to look forward to.